Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The perks of being a journalist

I started out at UMass in the Isenberg School of Business. I thought that upon graduating, I would be able to find a well-paying job in the city of my choosing with ease.

Then, a month and a half after arriving at school, I went down to the Collegian offices. Now I’ve added journalism as a second major. Instead of looking forward to a comfortable salary and an easy path toward employment, I’m about to enter the field of print journalism – an industry going through an astonishingly fast decline.

My change in direction is all due to the Collegian, and I couldn’t be happier for it. New England’s Largest College Daily has been my home for almost my entire college career. I have served in a number of different positions and through it all I have gained a real passion for journalism. I count myself as one of the lucky few who really know what they want to pursue after I graduate. (Something that is going to happen in only a couple of weeks!)

For those that don’t know, the Collegian is made up of an odd group of people. Editors rarely have high GPAs, largely due to the amount of time they spend working on the paper. The office is dingy and depressing, and most editors don’t leave the office until around one in the morning when they’ve “put the paper to bed.” The dedication of this group of people is unparalleled.

It is because of the paper’s staff and our mutual interest in producing something special that I have spent such a large portion of my time buried in the depths of the campus center.

And it’s been great.

That’s not to say that the journalism staff doesn’t deserve a lot of credit for my graduation this month – they do. The guidance they have given me has allowed me to gain the opportunities that have made my college experience a valuable one.

The list of those who have helped me in my four years at UMass is a long one. Then again, when I came here, this college wasn’t my first choice. I was seriously considering the University of Delaware and Boston University. Why do I say this now? Because it is rare to graduate having believed you made the wrong decision entering school, only to discover that UMass really was the right place to be.

It is because of the Collegian that I am now fully content with my college decision. Without a college newspaper that threw me straight into the deep end – my first assignment was to cover a UMass football game – I never would have understood what journalism could offer and just how much fun it could be.

Because of that first experience, I have interviewed a U.S. Senate candidate, veterans, ROTC members, athletes, politicians, school board committee members and musicians. I like to think that journalism is really an excuse to hunt down the most interesting people you can find and to selfishly ask that they spend their time explaining things to you.

A couple of years ago, when I was reading other peoples’ senior columns, I had always thought about what I, myself, would write. I wanted to be funny. I was going to insert a small number of inside jokes to make myself feel like I had really been a part of something. Now, I’m writing your basic senior column, full of sentimentality and the kind of selfish writing that I’ll keep forever in my clips folder.

When I look back at this clip, however, I’m probably not going to read my article. I’m going to look at the bylines of those around me who have been my friends and colleagues over the course of an amazing four years. To everyone who has helped me (or had to deal with me) along the way, thank you. To my family, friends and fellow members of the Collegian, you have filled my time at UMass with positive memories.

I’m looking forward to graduation; I’m definitely ready to make the proverbial next step. But for now, it is time to reminisce about my time spent at a great organization.

I know the paper will be great next year. Nick and Alyssa will do a fantastic job. I hope to come back to visit a few months into the fall semester (hopefully I’ll be employed by then) to hear about what everyone’s up to.

Have a great summer. I’ll miss this place.

Michael Phillis was the Collegian’s assistant ed/op editor. He can be reached at [email protected].

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    adrian setzingerJun 5, 2010 at 1:05 am

    this has told me nothing about the perks of being a journalist